Todd McShay of ESPN has dropped a new mock draft, this one has two rounds. But the ESPN mock doesn’t really line up with the facts on the ground for the Dallas Cowboys. In general, McShay is a good analyst as far as drafts go and I respect his opinion and work, but this is a situation where he doesn’t seem to have a grasp on what the Cowboys are doing this offseason.
Let’s examine further with McShay’s first pick for Dallas.
24. Dallas Cowboys
George Karlaftis, DE, Purdue
Randy Gregory signed with Denver, and Dante Fowler Jr. isn’t going to solve the Cowboys’ lack of pass-rush depth. Dallas can, of course, slide Micah Parsons back into the edge-rushing role he had last season when he totaled 13 sacks; and while I personally think Parsons can do even more for the Cowboys in his more traditional role at inside linebacker, the team needs more pass rushing no matter what. Karlaftis has an explosive first step and the power to bull rush linemen.
Let’s dispense with the player himself first. Some like Karlaftis, others worry his skills may not translate to the NFL level as well as many hope. You can make your own choice on that.
The problem here is the position. The Cowboys do not seem to think that pass rush at defensive end is a great need right now, They re-did the contract of DeMarcus Lawrence, and they re-signed Dorance Armstrong, a player that McShay has overlooked in his explanation.
Armstrong isn’t the name player fans may like at the position, but the Cowboys re-signed him for a reason. They also have Tarell Basham and Chauncey Golston, along with the part-time services of Micah Parsons. Plus they added Dante Fowler.
The Cowboys own invites for their 30 pre-draft visits confirms their thoughts on defensive end. We’ve discussed many times how important these are for the Cowboys, especially when it comes to their first pick in the draft. It is something that should be paid attention to by any mock drafter.
Here is the list of defensive ends the Cowboys have invited.
That just doesn’t look like a team prioritizing a defensive end in the first round. Even Jerry Jones has said that an offensive lineman is coming unless a Parsons/Lamb type player falls to them. All you have to do is look at their offensive lineman invites to confirm their strong interest in picking one early.
Charles Cross OT Miss. State (ranked #10)
Bernhard Raimann OT Central Michigan (ranked #36)
Zion Johnson OG Boston College (ranked #33)
Kenyon Green OL Texas A&M (ranked #22)
Cam Jurgens OC Nebraska (ranked #163)
Joshua Ezeudu OT North Carolina (ranked #169)
Dawson Deaton OC Texas Tech (ranked #200)
*rankings from Fanspeak big board.
The Cowboys are inviting four offensive linemen who could possibly go in the first round. Contrast that with invites of defensive ends that start late in the second round at best. That is a strong statement on where they are headed and Jerry Jones has confirmed it. Even if they were to go defensive end, it would have to be a spectacular player who has fallen far down in the first round. George Karlaftis does not fit that description; late first round is his general projection.
Now, look at who McShay has the Cowboys passing on for Karlaftis.
#28 Kenyon Green
#29 Zion Johnson
#31 Tyler Linderbaum
It just doesn’t make any sense based on everything the Cowboys are saying and doing this offseason.
In the second round. McShay has the Cowboys scoring on value.
56. Dallas Cowboys
Bernhard Raimann, OT, Central Michigan
There’s an opening at right tackle after the Cowboys cut La’el Collins, and while Raimann will require patience as he develops, there’s no denying his power and quickness. He has allowed only four sacks on 752 career pass-block snaps.
Many analysts have Raimann going in the first round, and we’ve even seen him mocked to the Cowboys in the first round. If he’s available at this point it’s a good pick. Still, we have to quibble with this from McShay: There’s an opening at right tackle after the Cowboys cut La’el Collins.
The Cowboys have every intention of playing Terence Steel at right tackle, That's one of the reasons they felt comfortable cutting Collins. This isn’t to say the job belongs to Steele without question, but there certainly isn’t an opening at right tackle like there is at left guard.
McShay is usually a pretty good resource around draft time, but this Cowboys mock doesn’t seem to fit the plans.